In a first of its kind for Munster, the town of Fermoy has been given its own distinctive digital footprint through a new app aimed at promoting local business and encouraging more people to visit the town.
Simply called ‘Fermoy’, the app, which is available free of charge through Google Play and the Apple Store, was officially launched on Monday evening at a reception in the Fermoy branch of the AIB.
Speaking at the well-attended launch, Fermoy-native Colin Hanley of the Galway-based Boon Agency, the company behind the development and ongoing roll-out of the town-app initiative, said it would be rolled out locally in phases over the coming months.
The app already features a user-friendly dashboard with sections covering subjects including shopping in Fermoy, local attractions and walks, useful local contact and places to stay, eat and drink in Fermoy.
Mr Hanley said that as the different phases of the app are rolled out it will also offer additional sections including in-app purchases (which will allow the app to remain free to businesses), a clubs/schools section, local alerts and the ability to pre-book digital tickets for events taking place in the Fermoy area. It will also incorporate a ‘click and collect’ function for local businesses that will be integrated with existing online payment systems.
“Our focus has been on developing these towns apps and creating a digital infrastructure that businesses can plug into without having to develop it themselves, which can be a costly business. Our aim is to create online experiences that make it easy for people to do business in a town and turn visitors to the app into paying customers,” said Mr Hanley.
He said that towns of Fermoy’s size can often be overlooked when it comes to the development of technology and apps as they can often be viewed as being financially unviable.
Mr Hanley said the app costs in the region of €15,000 to develop for each location, with the McCarthy Insurance Group (MIG) coming on board to provide a start-up grant for each town in Munster where it will be rolled out. He said that Cork County Council would also be coming on board to help cover the cost of developing the Fermoy app and similar ones in towns across the county including Mitchelstown and Charleville.
“We are looking at rolling it out in 76 towns across the country. The beauty of this app is that once all the phases are in place and more towns come on board it will generate the funding needed to develop it further,” said Mr Hanley.
“A team will be put in place in Fermoy to drive the app and put up regular content, so it won’t stay still. The way we have built the app means it can be adapted as technology moves on, so it is future-proofed,” he added.
Susan Gaynor of the Castlerea town team also spoke at the launch, saying the app had proven to be hugely successful when it was rolled out in the Roscommon town. Other speakers at the launch included Minister for State and Cork East TD David Stanton; The chair of Cork County Council’s Fermoy electoral division, Cllr Frank O’Flynn, and Paul Kavanagh of the McCarthy Insurance Group.
All urged people to download the app themselves and spread the world about it.
“This is a hugely exciting innovation that has huge potential. Through apps like this we can promote towns like Fermoy as great places to live, work in and visit,” Deputy Stanton said.
Mr Kavanagh agreed, saying it was now up to the local community to buy into the app and make it work. He also paid tribute to Michael Hanley of the Fermoy Enterprise Board for initially coming up with the idea for a Fermoy tourist app.
He said that it was decided to take the idea further to incorporate all the town has to offer.
“There is a lot more to come. It is now up to everyone to download the app and spread the word so it will be the tool that people use when they visit Fermoy,” he said.
Bill Browne – The Corkman